Encourage your Patients to Utilize FSA Dollars
By Kayla Groves December 14, 2020
December is usually a chaotic month for most people, but this is especially true for optometrists and optical shops. Every year, your patients wait until the last weeks of the year to utilize their benefits. Whether they are using vision benefits, flexible saving accounts, or health saving accounts, it is essential to make sure your patients do not lose their benefits. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a Health Saving Account (HSA) is an account that you put money into to pay for specific out-of-pocket healthcare costs. A significant benefit to FSA funds and HSA funds is the money is tax-free. You can contribute up to $2,750 in an FSA if you are single and up to $5,000 if you are married. Patients with FSA accounts are required to spend that money before the end of the year or lose that money. HSA funds do not expire at the end of the year. Here are a few tips on how you can help patients utilize their FSA dollars before they lose them:
Market inside and outside the office. You can start by putting up posters or signs in the office that state things like:
"Use your FSA benefits on your purchase today."
"We accept FSA benefits."
"Use your FSA benefits on a pair of prescription sunglasses."
Make sure your signage encourages patients to use their flexible spending accounts in your office.
Next, send an e-blast to all your patients about utilizing their benefits before the end of the year. Encourage your patients to schedule an appointment, purchase new glasses, or purchase contact lenses. Don't forget to take advantage of social media and make sure you are posting year-round about FSA and HSA accounts. That way, you are reminding your patients all year long to take advantage of their benefits. Usually, marketing campaigns can take weeks to generate potential patients, but you can expect to see results immediately when it comes to using benefits before December 31st.
Mention FSA Benefits
When people think about utilizing their FSA benefits, they usually think about paying their insurance copays, deductibles, and prescription medication. What we fail to realize is how little people understand about their benefits. Many people are unaware that they can use FSA dollars for optometry goods and services. When the patient is in your office, it is important to remind them that they can use their flexible spending accounts to pay for their services. FSA accounts cover eye examinations, prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses, contact lenses, eye care accessories, eye drops, and eye surgery. I am sure you have heard that saying, "Use it or lose it." Make sure your patients know that if they do not use their benefits before the end of the year, they lose them. Typically, your patient will know exactly how much money is on their card, and they will try to use every penny. Many people are unaware that FSA funds can also be used to cover expenses for spouses and dependents. Make sure your patients are aware of all their spending capabilities.
The end of the year is the perfect time to take advantage of opportunities that your patient may not usually invest in. They have to use their FSA dollars, so encourage your patients to make purchases in your practice. It’s a good idea to recommend a second pair of glasses. You never know what might happen, and it can be detrimental for your patients to be without their eyewear, so sell a pair of backup glasses. Maybe they have always wanted a prescription pair of sunglasses for summer vacations, or they have always wanted to get transitions onto their glasses, or perhaps they have always wanted to try disposable contact lenses. How great would it be to wear a new pair of contact lenses every day? Still, they are hesitant to spend the extra money. If your patient is sitting on a bunch of FSA dollars, they might be more willing to use those benefits, so encourage them to invest in their eyewear. At my practice, I have seen patients spend thousands of dollars in one visit just so they won’t lose their benefits. What better way to spend that money than on the gift of sight.
Remember that you should never judge how much money your patient is willing to spend on their eyewear. As an eye care professional, you should always offer your patients the best products available for their vision. Trust is the key to developing long-term relationships, and if you are truthful with your patients, you will gain recurring patients and revenue.